Silver for the Team and Two Individual Golds: World Team Closing Gallery
January 14, 2010
1st row: GMs Robert Hess, Varuzhan Akobian, Hikaru Nakamura, 2nd row: Ray Robson, Yury Shulman and Alexander Onischuk with captain IM John Donaldson in the back, Photo Tony Rich of CCSCSL

At the World Team Championship in Bursa, Turkey, the US squad took home silver medals, while GM Hikaru Nakamura and GM Alexander Onischuk earned gold individual medals. The squad was generously sponsored by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.
IM John Donaldson told CLO that this was one of the strongest events he has captained,

"The many great players who struggled (Gelfand, Gashimov and Morozevich were all below 50 percent) is testimony to how difficult the event was. Russia was a deserving winner with their depth the deciding difference. This was my eleventh time as US captain, and although the teams have been pretty successful (1 gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze team medals) I cannot ever recall anything resembling the performances of Hikaru and Alex on boards one and two. They played exceptionally well with Hikaru showing yet again that he is among the best in the world and Alex that he plays like a 2700 player."

Captain IM John Donaldson Photo Tony Rich of CCSCSL

Donaldson said he was baffled as to why Azerbaijan sat their top two players in the last round, "We expected the first four but Gashimov, who had already lost three games (and nearly a fourth to Kotronias the round before) may not have relished playing Hikaru as Black. If Radjabov and Guseinov both played Mamedyarov (placed on board four for tactical reasons to shift to board three or four depending on the situation) would have had Black and we guessed correctly that he would be given White. Of course they could have dropped Guseinov and put Radjabov as Black on one and Mamedyarov on two but Guseinov while considerably lower rated might have been considered more solid. As you can see I am not really sure but was pleased to see the top two resting."

After Azerbaijan's odd board pairings, the US handily scored 2-2 to clinch silver medals with Russia earning gold and India taking bronze. (A win for the American squad would have still netted silver.)

Closing Gallery by Tony Rich of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

Nakamura finished ahead of world-class GMs Levon Aronian and Alexander Grischuk

Nakamura will go on directly to play in Corus A, in a 12-player round robin that includes Carlsen, Anand and Kramnik. CLO coverage will include dispatches from GM Ian Rogers.

Confetti for the medallists

GM Varuzhan Akobian

Time to enjoy victory

The winning team!

Look for an in-depth story by GM Robert Hess on the World Team in an upcoming issue of Chess Life Magazine. The piece will also feature annotations by the other team-members.